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In July, the WORVPI Phase II Management Team met to discuss a most confusing vote taken by the Forest County Forestry & Recreation Committee.

The focus of this meeting was an update from Paul Millan, Chair of the Forest County Board of Supervisors regarding the 15 Year Comprehensive Forest Management Plan amendments. After 18 months of work drafting these amendments, four committee members voted against allowing the Board of Supervisors to review their work and consider their proposed amendments. No details for non-support of the document they drafted to date has been given.

When asked, Millan could not explain the actions of the Committee. When asked what the status of the amendments was, Millan stated that he assumed the amendments had “no status.” When asked if the County Board would, at the very least, not oppose or attempt to obstruct private MRA Park development in Forest County Millan replied, he was “fairly certain that the County Board probably wouldn’t attempt to obstruct the project any further.” Millan could not give the same level of assurance regarding county employees. 

While it is baffling that the Committee could spend countless hours and tax dollars to draft the amendments and then not support their own finished work by forwarding it on to the County Board. But, even stranger actions have now occurred involving this committee.

It’s noteworthy that following that meeting with Millan, he reported that obstruction by the Board with private development of the MRA Park Project would be illegal, and that all but assured the county board could not be an obstruction to private development.

On September 8th, the Committee voted to recommend acquiring 3200 acres of land identified in the MRA Park Project Proposal. Not only does this appear to be an attempt to obstruct the Project, but it contradicts previous arguments in opposition to the Project.

The Committee had previously reported that this parcel of land was worthless and contained no timber of value. Further, it did not meet their search requirements for focusing on standing hardwood that was ready for harvest. NIMBY’s (not in my back yard) from the area had strongly verbally opposed the exact same funding source for acquisition that is now being recommended by the Committee. But, these same individuals are now completely silent on this issue.

It is obvious that an open anti-business mindset exists in Forest County!

This environment, in no small part, left WORVPI no other option but to reluctantly abandon our Forest County Off-Road Park Project. WORVPI recently began working with another Northern Wisconsin County and is optimistic that the economic benefits from park development will be appreciated in this new setting.